Georgia Senator Johnny Isakson says the United States needs to re-establish itself as a world leader in foreign affairs by taking care of those who seek to harm us. Isakson and State Representative Johnnie Caldwell were the speakers at the Thomaston-Upson Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Business Luncheon on August 27, sponsored by the Thomaston-Upson Airport.
Citing actions in Ukraine and the Middle East, Isakson said America currently has a vacuum of leadership in foreign affairs that has caused some “bad actors” to move into positions of power, and that the U. S. needs to change that.
“Vladimir Putin, president of Russia – and Russia , by the way, is not the country that it used to be,” Isakson said. “It used to be a world power. Now they are a gas station with a can and a flag… They’re just using their energy to rule their part of the world. They have the Ukrainians held hostage because they supply them gas and oil. We have an infinite supply of natural gas. We ought to be supplying the Ukrainians and running the Russians out. We should use our soft power of economic development of fuel and oil and gasoline to do that.
“Secondly, in the Middle East we have a real crisis,” he added. “We have a new gang in town that was referred to by the President as the ‘junior varsity,’ which was unfortunately a very bad reference. They are the manifestation of what Al-Queda hoped they could do when they attacked us on 9/11/2001. ISIS now is referred to by Al-Queda as ‘too brutal.’ And when somebody who will kill 3,000 people in one day says the enemy is too brutal, you know they are pretty brutal. There is only one thing we can do with ISIS and that is we’ve got to kill them.
“The President needs to be aggressive and take advantage of the great military and the great resources we have,” Isakson continued. “I don’t want to deploy boots on the ground in Syria. I don’t want to send our sons and daughters anywhere to die. But I also don’t want to die at the hands of a terrorist here in America. We have a strong military, we have the best intelligence in the world. We know where the enemy is. The enemy is headquartered - with ISIS being the enemy – in Syria. We ought to go after them, we ought to get them, and we ought to cut off the head of the snake. Because if we don’t, the head of the snake will bite us some other time in some other place in a way that will be hurtful to us.”
Isakson also defended the monitoring of cell phone calls and the internet in the United States. He noted that Ft. Gordon in Augusta is now the headquarters for cyber-security in the United States, and said if people knew how many threats were being stopped, they would think differently about having their phone calls monitored.
“There are a lot of things I can’t tell you that we hear,” Isakson said. “We are briefed on a weekly basis by the National Security Agency on threats to the United States. I’m asked a lot of times what has surprised me most in going to the Congress and representing Georgia. What amazes me is what every day the United States security agencies stop that you never read about. Terrorists are trying 24/7 to get us, either by bringing down the electrical grid, by penetrating the CDC, by messing up the financial system, whatever they can do. We have great cyber-protection, but we’ve got to stay one step ahead of them, and they are always trying to improve. We’ve got to protect the homeland and we’re in a cyber-world.”
Larry Stanford may be reached at 706-647-5414 or on Twitter @LarryStanford7.